Enjoy your Independence Day

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No people in the world love their independence more than Americans. It was in 1776 that Americans declared independence from Great Britain with The American Revolution and in 1941 Independence Day became a paid federal holiday in the United States.

This holiday, known simply as the Fourth of July or Independence Day, falls on July 4 every year and should be enjoyed with all the trimmings, the parades, the fireworks, and the family gatherings for barbecues.

There is another Independence Day that is of great value, a day that many will sadly never see –your personal Independence Day. On this day, you will owe nobody. All loans will be paid off and all credit cards, if still being used, carry only the current charges.

You can classify as independent if you still owe a mortgage on a home, provided you are either living in that house or are renting it for a substantial sum.

One of the biggest reasons most people will never achieve independence is because of their credit cards. Credit cards are in it for the long haul. The credit card companies have your indebtedness so structured that it will take you literally years and years to pay off a relatively small sum.

Take your credit card statement and look at the section where you are told how many years it will take you to pay off this card if you only pay the minimum amount.

You can never be independent as long as you carry credit card balances. These balances grow while you feel you are paying them down, but if your monthly payment is $100 and the interest charged you for that month is $50, then you are paying $50 for which you get no credit.

As an exercise that will jolt you into the real world, take all your credit card statements and jot down the interest you are paying this month and add all those figures. This total represents money that you are throwing away — what could you do with this amount of money each month?

Simple words to live by will make it possible for you to attain independence. Such phrases as “you can’t have everything,” “spend less than you make” and old favorites such as “save for a rainy day,” have all been put into more modernized sayings, but the message is the same.

The first of July is a good time to assess your progress. It is the half-way mark of the year and you should be able to see some progress even if it is small. Take that budget and look over it once again.

Putting cash into an envelope marked for a certain use is still one of the most reliable means of staying within your budget because when the envelope is empty, you are out of funds. It is more impressive when you look into that empty envelope; a checkbook still has many more unused checks and is misleading.

The financial benefits of being independent are obvious, you are free to make your own financial decisions without having to take your indebtedness into consideration.

Your financial decisions affect every part of your life. You can return to school and prepare for a job that you would be happy doing or no, you owe too much money; you can’t afford it.

Less obvious is the health advantage. Of being independent. When you are independent, you are less likely to have excess stress — that stuff that kills you and makes your life miserable while it is doing so.

It wasn’t easy for our ancestors to fight the British back in the 1700’s in order to gain our independence. It won’t be easy for you to reach independence, but it is possible and will be well worth it. Go for it!

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at opelikaobserver@att.net This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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